Conclusion of Khieu Samphan’s Appeal Hearings is a milestone for the ECCC in Searching for the Truth and Justice

The Supreme Court Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) concluded its Case 002/02 appeal hearings against Khieu Samphan after four-days from 16th to 19 August 2021. This is another milestone for the ECCC in its mission to bring to trial former senior leaders and those most responsible for serious crimes committed during the Kampuchea Democratic regime.

This appeal hearing is important for the victims, accused, Cambodian history, as well as for the international criminal justice system as a whole.

The conclusion of the appeal hearing pending a verdict in due course is a step toward closing Case 002 after more than 10 years of legal proceedings on this case.

On 16 November 2018, Khieu Samphan was sentenced by the Trial Chamber to life imprisonment. The former President of the Presidium of the Democratic Kampuchea was found guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. These crimes took place in various places in Cambodia between 17 April 1975 and 6 January 1979.

The Trial Chamber found that Khieu Samphan was involved in a joint criminal enterprise with other senior leaders of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, aiming to carry out a rapid socialist revolution through committing crimes.

Appellant Khieu Samphan, through his defense, requested the Supreme Court Chamber to: 1. Annul the Trial Chamber judgment announced on 16 November 2018 and the reasons notified to the parties on 28 March 2019 in breach of the Internal Rules; 2.  Overturn the judgement and its reasons and to deliver not guilty verdicts on each charge; and 3. At the very least, revise the sentence and deliver a prison sentence with a time limit.

The Office of the Co-Prosecutors filed an appeal comprising a single ground in connection with forced marriage. The Co-Prosecutors have asked the Supreme Court Chamber to rule that the Trial Chamber was mistaken when it concluded that men who were forced to consummate their marriages by having sexual intercourse were not the victims of crimes against humanity of other inhumane acts. The Co-Prosecutors have requested that the Trial Chamber’s finding in this regard be set aside and that convictions for crimes of other inhumane acts be corrected to recognize that sexual violence occurred against male victims so that both male and female victims of the same act of forced sexual intercourse are properly recognized.

The Civil Party Lead Co-Lawyers requested the Supreme Court Chamber to: 1. Dismiss the Khieu Samphan appeal in its entirety; 2. Affirm all of Khieu Samphan’s convictions; and 3. Affirm the sentence of life imprisonment.

"ECCC Public Affairs Section"

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